With the temperatures dropping fast here in Westchester and Fairfield counties, you may be tempted to light a fire in your fireplace. Before you light that first fire of the season, it is important to complete some routine maintenance to ensure your family and home stay safe this winter. If you ignore these tips, you may cause a chimney fire which can ignite a severe fire damage to your home:
Annual Chimney Check
Did you know that chimneys and fireplaces are supposed to be inspected every year? A little prevention can go a long way when it comes to the safety of your fireplace. It is important to have an annual inspection and cleaning done, especially if you are using the fireplace regularly. Fires produce a produce called creosote that is extremely combustible and if not cleaned up can cause a dangerous house fire.
Collect and Store Firewood Now
You should only be using dry and well-seasoned wood in your fireplace. Burning firewood that has been dried, or seasoned, for at least six months will ensure that it burns even and won’t produce an excess amount of soot. If you have a dry storage space, you should consider storing wood now for next winter – that way it will be properly dried before it is burned in your fireplace.
Keep it Safe and Clean
Before you light a fire, you should always make sure to dispose of ashes from previous fires and dispose of those ashes outside of the house. Hopefully you already have both installed, but if not, you should install smoke AND carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Once installed, you should test them monthly and change the batteries out once a year. While you’re out buying new batteries, you should pick up a fire extinguisher to keep on hand in case of emergency.
Chimney Cap Care
If you already have a chimney cap installed on your home, it is important to check to ensure everything is still attached and intact. You should also check to make sure there are no trees hanging over your chimney and that the masonry is still in good shape. Cracked or loose masonry can cause your chimney to deteriorate from the inside out, or worse cause a house fire.
Doors and Screens and Sparks, Oh My!
Fireplace screens are for more than decoration. If your fireplace doesn’t already have glass doors or a screen, you should purchase one before it’s too late. Screens and doors can greatly reduce the number of sparks that escape from the fireplace while in use. Firewood will shift as the fire dies down, causing embers to fly. Embers can damage your flooring and furniture, or worse could cause a house fire.
Utilizing these tips will help you and your family stay safe and warm this winter! If you need emergency disaster restoration support you can count on your neighbors, ServiceMaster Superior Cleaning & Restoration Services, for assistance contact us 24/7/365. Our team can arrive onsite within two hours to begin working if emergency service is needed.